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Watch: Chaos As Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Storm Israel’s Knesset

Watch: Chaos As Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Storm Israel’s Knesset

Chaos broke out at Israel’s parliament the Knesset amid an ongoing multi-day protest led by hostage victims’ families which is being staged just outside. For the first time, on Wednesday demonstrators overwhelmed the Knesset while it was in session, and smeared glass panels of the guest gallery with yellow paint.

They shouted: “Do not go on summer recess at our expense,” and “There will be no recess until the last captive is returned” while security fought to get the group under control. Watch below:

The whole ordeal did cause a disruption in a plenary session of lawmakers, until police were able to clear the building of all demonstrators. The protests, which have included people camping in tents across from Israel’s parliament and other government buildings, even the prime minister’s private residence, are entering their fifth day.

The families have demanded the Netanyahu government make a deal with Hamas to free the remaining captives. They have also accused Netanyahu and his allies of seeking to prolong the war in order to ensure his own political survival. 

These demonstrations have escalated of late, as detailed in Israeli media reports:

The protest later turned chaotic, as demonstrators broke through security barriers and arrived at the entrance to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s private residence. The violence outside the premier’s home, including a burning torch thrown at a mounted police officer, prompted an unusual visit by the head of the Shin Bet Internal Security Agency to the Netanyahu house. He called the protest out of bounds and said it was part of a worrying trend of violent protest.

Shin Bet security agency chief Ronen Bar has warned against “dangerous” escalation of the protest. “The violent discourse online and some of the scenes we saw [last night] in Jerusalem go beyond acceptable protest, harm the ability to maintain public order, could lead to violent clashes with law enforcement, disrupt their ability to carry out their work and even cause harm to individuals under protection,” he warned.

He emphasized, “there is a clear line between legitimate protest and violent and illegal protest. This is a worrying trend that could lead to dangerous places which we must not come to.”

Israel’s official count for the number of people still being held hostage in the Gaza Strip remains at 134 mostly Israeli citizens as well as some foreigners, which includes possibly deceased victims. Amid stalled truce negotiations in Qatar, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently revealed that Israeli officials believe only 60 to 70 Israeli hostages in Gaza are still alive.

“According to the IDF, a total of 134 hostages and bodies are being held in Gaza,” Haaretz wrote Thursday. “Thirty-six of the people were confirmed by the army as killed – some on October 7, when their bodies were taken into the Strip. Of the 98 living hostages, 10 are foreigners (eight Thais, one Nepalese national, and one man with Mexican and French citizenship),” the report said.

Wed, 04/03/2024 – 14:25

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